A different take on how Will & Dee comes to be Imzadi
In this story Will & Deanna never met before joining the crew of the
It’s not mine; it’s theirs, and we all know it.
He had found himself thinking about her more and more lately. Will Riker
smiled to himself as he emptied his drink and rose from his chair in Ten Forward
before throwing one last look in her direction. She was talking to Beverly. He
could go over there, ask her to dance. There would be no harm in that … He
started in her direction, wondering why the Hell he felt so nervous around this
woman? It wasn’t like he hadn’t met attractive women before, gorgeous even.
Still, it was different with her. Counselor Deanna Troi was indeed different
from any women he had known before.
The two women looked up at him, as he reached their table. He smiled at
Beverly, and then turned to Deanna. ‘God, she’s so beautiful’, he thought.
She smiled at him.
“Commander,” she said. “Good
He returned the smile. How could he not? But still, he didn’t speak.
The whole thing was getting quite awkward.
“Counselor,” he said, finally, “would you like to --- ”
And then the moment, his chance, had passed.
“Senior Officers report to the Bridge,” came the Captain’s firm
Both women got up quickly, and he felt a strange sensation wash over him,
as his and Deanna’s eyes locked. It was just for an instant, but it was enough
to make his heart beat a little faster.
“How do you do it?”
The strange looks he got from both the Doctor and the Counselor made him
realize that he had voiced his thoughts.
“Do what, Commander?” she asked, looking at him with questions in her
onyx eyes. Those eyes …
“Oh, nothing,” he answered quickly, smiling broadly. He had to regain
some sense of control over the situation. “Excuse
me, ladies, I have to be on the Bridge,” he stated, before practically bolting
from the room.
He confused her. Her sense of him confused her. Deanna sighed inaudibly,
as she turned her head to look at him. He was also a very attractive man, she
had to admit that, and it wasn’t easy. She smiled a little. She had promised
herself, when she had first come face to face with Commander William T. Riker,
that she would not succumb to his charms, and she intended to keep that promise.
But no one said she couldn’t enjoy the sight …
Riker felt her eyes on him, but he didn’t turn to look at her. In fact,
he didn’t move at all. If he did, she would be able to read his facial
expression and realize how attracted he was to her. Just then he remembered that
she wouldn’t have to look at him. “She’s an empath, you fool,” he
thought to himself, before clearing his mind to focus on the mission they were
about to embark on.
Deanna smiled, sensing Riker’s thoughts. Something was definitely up
with the First Officer. But what was it? What was he up to, and with whom? The
thought of him with yet another woman made her jealous. Deanna Troi was jealous,
for the first time in her life, and she didn’t like it - not at all.
“Will? Are you okay?” Dr. Beverly Crusher looked at Riker, as they
passed each other in the corridor.
He nodded, smiling.
“I’m fine, Beverly, just tired. It has been a long shift.”
She nodded but found herself not quite believing him. Something had not
been right with Will for some time now. He kept to himself when he was off duty,
and it wasn’t like him. He was obviously troubled, and Beverly was worried.
She had examined him, when he’d come back injured from the
Enterprise’s last mission, but she had found nothing altered in him, no change
in his personality. He had recovered fully and tended to his duties as always.
But he was still not himself, and she knew that she wasn’t the only one
who had noticed. Jean-Luc had even asked her to convince him to go see the
Counselor, as it was obvious he wasn’t going to go there on his own.
“Will, the Captain …”, she began, but he just looked at her,
shaking his head as he continued in direction of his quarters. Beverly followed
him. “He wants you to go see Deanna,” she continued, reaching out to him,
making him look at her. He looked … sad.
“I recommend you make an appointment,” she continued, trying to get
through to him.
“I’m in no need of counseling, Doctor, I assure you. I’m perfectly
He didn’t wait around to give her time to answer, and watching him
disappear inside his quarters Beverly sighed and returned to her office,
She had never looked more beautiful to him than she did at this moment.
He smiled as he leaned into kiss her, feeling a surge of electricity go through
him, as she touched him, brought her hand up to his face and caressed his cheek
ever so gently. It felt so incredible that he found himself breaking the kiss,
because he had difficulty breathing.
“Will,” she whispered. “Please, don’t stop.”
Will Riker needed no further indication that this was what she wanted as
well, and he kissed her again, kissed her with such passion that he felt her
surprise for a second, before she pressed herself against his body and let him
crush her to him in an embrace so tight that it seemed like a desperate attempt
to keep her in his arms forever, never again letting her go.
“Deanna …” His voice was low, soft. She smiled up at him, and he
was stunned for an instant, when he saw himself in her eyes, the eyes that
seemed to follow him everywhere. He had never wanted any woman as much as he
wanted her at this moment, and he knew that she knew it.
“It’s okay, Will,” came her soft reply, before she locked her hands
behind his neck and kissed him until he was reeling from the sensation and
carried her to his bed …
The darkness in his quarters was a blessing for Will, as he woke with a
start and shook his head to make the images of the dream vanish. It had been a
dream, only a dream. He got up and looked at himself in the mirror, as he
entered the bathroom. He looked almost as awful as he felt. An ironic smile
played on his lips for a second, curling them upward slightly.
“Maybe it is time for a
little counseling.” He spoke out loud to himself, before stepping into the
shower, letting the water revitalize him.
It was later than
she'd thought when Deanna finished her workout in the gym and headed for Ten
Forward. It was almost empty. She was just about to turn around and head for her
quarters when she saw him sitting by the window. She stood at the door while
trying to sense his state of mind. He was in a state of turmoil, and the
strength of his emotions surprised her. Her concern for him intensified. She
stepped inside and walked slowly to his table.
He looked up, startled, as he felt her hand on his shoulder. Deanna removed her hand, shaken by how warm he felt to her touch. The thought that he might be sick made her uneasy.
"May I join you?" she asked, praying that he wouldn't rebuff her. Suddenly she felt that she needed to be here with him. She needed to make him smile again. She missed his smile. "Will?" She spoke softly, calling him back from wherever he had disappeared to.
He looked at her, nodding.
"If you'd like. But I'm afraid I'm not much company tonight."
She smiled a little as she sat down across from him. There was an empty glass on the table in front of him, and she'd smelled alcohol on his breath. He had fallen silent again, withdrawn back into his own world. She tried again, touching his hand.
"Will, talk to
me. Let me help you."
He felt his breath catch as she touched him. It felt so ... right. He contemplated that fact for a second and found that he didn't have words to describe exactly what he felt. But it did feel right - more right than anything ever had before.
'I want to touch you, feel your hands on my body, I want to kiss you.' he thought, 'Can you help me with that, Counselor?' Aloud, he only said "I have trouble sleeping." It was true, after all.
He couldn't break away when she held his gaze. What was she thinking? He had a feeling that she looked beyond his eyes and saw what was in his soul, saw who he really was. He wasn't sure exactly how he felt about that.
Deanna looked at him as he answered her and found her thoughts wandering weeks back in time to when he had returned with the away-team. He'd been hurt, and she had stayed with him in Sickbay while he'd been slipping in and out of consciousness. This wasn't something she ordinarily did, but then again, he wasn't ordinary, was he? He was Will Riker.
"Are you having nightmares?"
He smiled slightly
and put his hand over hers, bringing her attention to the fact that their hands
had been touching the entire time. That realization sent a tingling feeling down
She noticed him swallowing and that surprised her. He seemed to struggle somehow - but why? She tried, but she couldn't sense him clearly. Her emotions clouded her perception of him. She froze slightly. Her emotions ... oh, gods ...
"Deanna, what's wrong?"
He was beside her now, his hands on her shoulders, turning her to face him and she didn't resist. She found that she didn't want to.
"You never called me that before." She looked into his blue eyes and tried to focus, to center her emotions.
"I know," he simply said. "Are you okay?"
She nodded, and when he let her go, she let out her breath, not realizing that she had been holding it.
His name was just a whisper on her lips, and he felt it like a caress. Nothing in the universe could have stopped him from reaching out to her, and nothing did. He held her close to him, and she let him. It was almost as if she melted into him, and it felt incredible. Just incredible.
"Will, this is ---"
"It is." He looked down into her eyes and let himself breathe in her scent. "What happened just now? You froze."
"It was nothing," she answered evasively.
wasn't, Commander." Deanna didn't quite know whom she was trying to
convince, herself or Will. She felt the change in him before seeing it in his
eyes. He let her go, and she felt ... robbed.
"So, we're back to 'Commander' now, are we?"
She couldn't answer. The sense of his anger was overwhelming to her. But it wasn't just anger, she realized. He was hurt. She tried to speak, but the words caught in her throat, and he backed away from her.
"I think I better call it a night, then. Good night, Counselor." He turned and left, leaving her standing alone.
"Good night, Will." she replied, although she knew he wouldn't hear her. She took in a deep breath, trying to block the sadness she felt. She had never felt so alone in her entire life.
Deanna was not the only one feeling alone.
Will tossed and
turned in his bed, unable to find the rest he so desperately needed. He was
tired enough, that wasn’t it. But still, something kept him from surrendering
to sleep. Deanna. This was her doing. He was being entirely irrational he knew
that, but he also knew that when he closed his eyes, the first thing he would
see was her face.
“Get a grip,
Riker,” he told himself, shaking her image from his mind’s eye. “She
doesn’t want you.”
The pain he felt was
deeper than any pain he had ever imagined that he would experience. It cut him
like a knife, deep - so deep. What was happening to him? Why did it hurt so
Will settled into the
fact that sleep would not be an option for him tonight and got up from his bed.
He might as well catch up on some reading, anything to get his mind of her and
the way it had felt to hold her in his arms … it had been …
Suddenly it hit him,
with impact. This feeling. It was love. He was in love, for the first time in
“Great. Just great.
Now what am I going to do?” He sighed in annoyance. This was the absolute last
thing he needed right now, with the Enterprise in the midst of an important
But he couldn’t
help it. Now that he’d admitted it to himself, he couldn’t escape it, and he
wasn’t sure he wanted to, either.
For a brief moment
Will thought about going back to Ten Forward, hoping that she would still be
there. But then he remembered, how she had backed away from him, and he
hesitated, climbing back to bed instead.
As he closed his
eyes, at last drifting off to sleep, he breathed her name.
The next morning Will
was on his way to meet with Picard, who had requested to see him. Will didn’t
really know what to expect from his superior. He knew he had been the object of
some speculation on board lately, especially between the Captain and the Chief
Medical Officer, and he wanted to make sure that Picard knew that he was
perfectly able to fulfill his duties as First Officer. He just hoped he would be
given a chance to do so.
Picard was fair, Will
knew this, but he also knew that he hadn’t made things easy. He had been
acting out of character, and it was bound to cause some worry. Especially
because Picard not only was his captain, he was also a friend, and so was
He heard Deanna speak
beside him and felt her touch like a jolt of electricity when she put a hand on
his arm. He looked at her briefly and stopped dead in his tracks. She looked
like she’d been crying. It tore him apart, and he felt guilty for leaving
things the way he had. It hadn’t been fair, but he had had to get out of
there, to be alone, before he had done something, said something, that she
obviously was not ready to deal with.
they were friends, first of all, and right now his thoughts were only of
comfort. He wanted to pull her into her arms and hold her. Just hold her.
“I’m sorry, I
…“ he began, but was cut short by the Captain’s urging.
“Picard to Riker.
Are you on your way, Number One?”
replied, tapping his communicator. “I’ll be right with you, Captain. Riker
out.” He turned to Deanna again. “I …” he started again, but she stopped
him in mid-sentence.
She smiled a little,
and a wave of relief washed over him, as he saw it.
“It can wait,”
she answered, softly. “The
Captain is waiting for you.”
He felt like telling
her that he didn’t care, that he wanted to know what was on her mind.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he smiled back at her causing Deanna to blush slightly. She was just as
relieved as Will.
“He’s not angry
anymore,” was all she thought, as they went their separate ways, both turning
their heads slightly, and both looking away quickly as their eyes met.
Then Will thought
better of it, catching her eye again.
“I would like to
schedule an appointment,” he said. “Do you have time?”
She nodded, a twinkle
in her eye he hadn’t seen before. But he liked it all the same.
“For you,” she
And she was gone,
leaving Will surprised, but with a big grin on his face, as he hurried to
Picard’s Ready Room.
Picard stood facing the window, deep in thought. Riker cleared his throat gently
and thereby announced his presence. Picard turned around, wordlessly waving him
Will took a couple of
steps forward, and the door hissed shut behind him. He didn’t speak; he
“Sit down, Will.”
Picard broke the
silence, gesturing to the empty chair, and Will did so. Picard’s use of his
first name made him a little less anxious, but there was no question that the
Captain was very serious.
“We’re in a very
delicate situation.” Picard spoke, and Riker listened, as he continued. “I
need my senior officers at their best. It’s crucial to the success of this
Riker nodded in
sir.” There was nothing more he could say at this point.
Picard nodded and
smiled a little.
“Will, you know I
value you as an officer and a friend. You are very important to the
Riker listened in
silence, not knowing exactly how to react. He was getting a little nervous.
Picard paced the room
a little, before turning and holding Riker’s gaze with his. “Something is
happening to you, Will, and I want you to go see Counselor Troi so we can find
out what it is.”
speak freely, sir?”
“I won’t argue
that I have been acting somewhat different than usual, but I need to know, sir -
is this a matter of lacking trust that I am able perform my duties?”
Riker was serious,
and so was Picard, as he shook his head.
“Number One, this
is a matter of both professional and personal concern, not lack of trust in the
least.” Picard took in a deep breath. “Are you all right, Will?”
The hand on his
shoulder made Riker smile. Captain Picard was not only a very accomplished
captain, he was also a very caring man with a lot of compassion for his crew,
whether he wanted to admit it or not.
“I’m all right,
Captain,” he promised. “I’ve had some things on my mind, but I am
beginning to work through them, and I have made an appointment to see the
This pleased Picard
“I’m happy to
hear that, Commander,” he answered, continuing after a brief pause. “I am
relieving you from duty today.”
This caught Will by
surprise, and he was unable to hide it.
Picard offered a
reassuring look to Riker.
“You need sleep,
Will,” was his answer. “You
look exhausted. Stop by and see Dr. Crusher.”
Will got up from the
chair. The words escaped his lips, before he could stop them.
“What I need I
can’t get from Dr. Crusher.”
Riker felt like
Riker shook his head,
just wanting to get out of there at this point.
sir,” he managed to say.
Picard went to sit
behind his desk.
“Very well,” he
acknowledged. “That would be all.”
Picard watched him
leave, making a mental note to speak to the doctor, before Data’s request to
see him on the Bridge took his mind away from his First Officer’s troubles.
looked up from her screen, as she heard the chime. She smiled to herself. It was
Will, she sensed. Somehow it surprised her that she could distinguish him so
clearly from others. But still, it seemed natural in some way that she
couldn’t really explain, and for once she didn’t feel she needed to.
“Come in,” she
offered, still smiling.
door hissed open, and she was stunned momentarily as his bright eyes revealed
the warmth and emotion that she had seen there the night before.
This was all she
could say. What was it about this man that she seemed to be overwhelmed by his
smiled, while stepping inside and letting the door shut before continuing. “I
can’t believe it.”
She looked at him,
“How your face
changes, every time you smile. It’s so … beautiful.” Will’s voice fell
to a whisper.
Deanna didn’t say
anything, she couldn’t.
“I’m … “
Will swallowed and
couldn’t believe what he’d just said. What had he been thinking? Damn.
“I’m sorry, I
really am. For everything.”
There was a minute of
“I’ll leave you
alone.” He turned to leave.
“No!” Deanna got
up from her seat and reached out to him. “No. Not again.”
She was close enough
for him to smell her perfume. He felt his body tense, but shook his head, when
she misunderstood and started to back away.
don’t.” He barely recognized his own voice. “I need … “
Will lost his nerve.
This was a new experience for him. He had never been more afraid than he was
now, he didn’t want to do the wrong thing where Deanna was concerned.
Their eyes locked,
and seconds later their lips met. The kiss was tender at first, but gradually
Deanna felt her
senses overflow and had to hold on tighter to Will for balance.
He drew her
completely into his arms without breaking the kiss, and he felt both their
“Thank you.” She
took a step back and looked up at him. “For the compliment.”
She smiled again, and
Will nodded, unable to resist another kiss. It felt so wonderful to finally be
able to kiss her.
He winked, and Deanna
couldn’t help but laugh a little, as she recognized the famous Riker charm.
“I have an
appointment in a few minutes,” she said. “Maybe we can continue …” She searched for the words and decided now was not the
time to identify what had just happened between them.
“I’ll see you
She watched him
leave, but this time she felt no sadness. In fact, she couldn’t seem to stop
Beverly walked into
Deanna’s office early that evening, surprised to find her friend still
working. They had made plans to have dinner together in Ten Forward, and Beverly
had already been to Deanna’s quarters. Not finding her there, she had asked
the computer to let her know the location of the Counselor.
sorry, I must have lost track of time. I’ll
be right with you.” Deanna rose from her chair quickly.
“Are you okay?
You’re blushing.” Beverly couldn’t hide a smile. She had never seen her
friend blush before, and she was curious.
“Yes, I’m fine.
“ Deanna replied, smiling. “But I’m getting hungry.”
picking up on Deanna’s evasiveness. Whatever thoughts she had been lost in, it
wasn’t any she wanted to share.
“It’s good to
have you back, Commander.” LaForge raised his glass and looked across the
table in Ten Forward at Will.
“And it’s good to
be back, Geordi,” Will said, finishing his drink
nodded, and Will stood, just as Deanna and Beverly entered the lounge. Then he
froze; it was almost like time stood still. His heart was pounding in his chest,
but he managed to make his way to the bar.
Guinan threw him one
of her enigmatic smiles.
you seem preoccupied tonight?”
Will just nodded. He
made no attempt to dismiss her statement. She saw everything as it was. There
was no reason to try and deny it. He didn’t want to, he wanted to enjoy it.
He turned his head in
Deanna’s direction and locked eyes with her across the lounge.
“An ale for Mr.
LaForge,” he told Guinan, without breaking eye contact with Deanna. “and a
… chocolate.” He turned to face Guinan again, as she offered the beverages
“Enjoy,” was all
Riker returned to
LaForge and put down the glass on the table. “I’m sorry, Geordi. I just
remembered I have to talk to Counselor Troi.”
Geordi nodded, and if
he suspected anything out of the ordinary, he hid it very well.
Riker offered a
goodnight before making his way to Deanna and Beverly’s table.
This time he didn’t
“’Anyone up for a
little hot chocolate?”
was priceless to Will. She blushed.
“I … thank you,
She reached out for
the mug, and their hands touched. For a few seconds they stayed like that.
Then Will let her
take the drink from him.
“There’s a price,
Counselor,” Will maintained. “If you drink the chocolate, you must dance
Beverly watched her
two friends with interest. Will and Deanna had always been good friends, but
there was something different about way they acted tonight. She couldn’t quite
put her finger on it, though.
Commander,” Deanna said.
Will drank in her
beauty for a moment before Picard summoned him, and he turned to leave.
“Enjoy your dinner,
ladies. Duty calls, I’m afraid.”
followed him, as he left, and when she tasted the chocolate, a small smile
curled her lips.
‘So much for not
succumbing to his charm,’ she thought to herself.
Deanna’s smile and suddenly it dawned on her. Will and Deanna were a couple!
But that couldn’t be. Or could it?
No matter what, she
had a feeling she would soon find out, and, frankly, she couldn’t wait.
“Riker to Troi.”
Deanna was heading
back to her quarters after saying goodnight to Beverly, when Will contacted her
through her Communicator. She tapped it slightly.
“What is it,
“You owe me a
dance, Ms. Troi,” he said, and she heard the smile in his voice.
“Now? Will, it’s
late. I’m tired.”
She was, but she was
also curious. What was he up to? She waited.
She was surprised at
his answer. The Will Riker she had come to know was not one to back down easily
when it came to women. Not to say that women seemed to want to resist him for
long, she reminded herself, and now she understood why. No man had ever kissed
her like that before. More to the point: No man’s kiss had ever felt quite so
exhilarating and wonderful to her as Will’s had. She didn’t know what it
meant, but she knew that right now she wanted to be near him.
For some reason she
held her breath.
His voice was soft,
and she closed her eyes.
In his quarters Will
smiled, mouthing a silent “Yes!”
He took in a deep
He couldn’t resist
teasing her a little.
“Watch it,” she
advised, but she was also smiling. “I might still change my mind.”
“In that case …
why don’t you come to my quarters?”
“I’ll be there.
Her attempt at
seriousness failed miserably, and she knew it. She also did not care.
Deanna was greeted by
soft jazz tones, when she was admitted into Will’s quarters minutes later. He
reached out to her, and she took a couple of steps forward into his arms. He
drew her close, and she settled into his embrace, resting her cheek against his
spoke softly as if afraid to break the spell of the moment with his words.
The atmosphere was
charged. She withdrew from his arms a little, just enough to look into his eyes.
And, then, he kissed
her again. It was merely a brush of his lips against hers, and Deanna had to
fight the impulse to just pull him closer and force him to put out the fire that
was starting to burn inside her.
“I’ve never felt
like this before.”
She stared at him,
not quite sure that she had heard him right.
Will kissed her hair.
“What is it you do
to me?” He trailed off, swallowing. This was just great. He was acting like a
Her hands went up to
his face, caressing him gently. She felt her heart skip a beat, as she saw him
close his eyes.
“I’m not doing
anything to you, Will.”
She smiled a little.
“But you are,” he
argued. “Sometimes when I’m with you, I just … I can’t concentrate.”
He sighed deeply and
moved away from her. He began pacing.
Deanna watched him
silently, secretly treasuring the moment. He was in turmoil, and she wanted to
help him. But at the same time she felt a strong need to hear what he had to
say, even if she sensed how confused he was.
This, her instincts
told her, was a side of Will Riker that very few people, if any, got to see. She
felt privileged, and the feelings she could no longer deny or suppress flowed to
the surface. The sensation was so powerful that she gasped.
The sound made him
stop his pacing immediately.
“I’m fine,” she
reassured him, before he could ask.
He went to her and
brought her into his arms with a force that surprised her. But she didn’t
object. This was where she wanted to be - in his arms.
This time the kiss
was deep and revealed the longing and desire in him.
He kissed her like a
man possessed, holding her as close as he possibly could, and Deanna gave in,
opening her mouth to let him in.
“Oh, my God!”
He broke away from
her and reveled in the beauty in front of him.
please. I need you.”
The raw emotion in
his words, in his eyes … the fierceness of his desire, mixed with an
uncharacteristic vulnerability took Deanna’s breath away.
There was no way she
could leave him now. She wanted him, needed to feel him against her. It was all
Reason and analysis
subsided in an instant, as she touched him and let her hands run through his
hair and down his broad shoulders.
He shivered, and it
fueled Deanna’s own desire to feel him react so strongly to her touch.
No more words were
It wasn’t a time
for words, all they needed to say was communicated with their bodies and hearts,
as they gave in, and, with sighs of relief, became one, forever joining their
hearts and souls.
Deanna’s scream was
caught in Will’s mouth, as he kissed her and heard the echo of a word in his
mind, a word that he didn’t know. It filled every fiber of his being, as he
felt her let go.
~ Imzadi. ~
He heard the word
again and again in his mind, as they released and he held her close, wanting to
freeze this moment in time, forever.
“I love you.”
Three words that
carried such significance that he had found it hard to say them in the past, but
not now. Not with her. He did love her. If he had doubted it earlier, now he was
as certain as he would ever be. It was a love that filled him with hope and
promise, a love that carried him beyond reason to a place he had never been
before, a place he hadn’t even known existed.
Deanna turned in
Will’s arms to look at his sleeping form. She couldn’t sleep. She kept going
over what had happened, replaying it in her mind. It had been all consuming, and
she had felt herself come alive at his touch, just as he had at hers. She had no
regrets, but she was still frightened. Deep inside she knew that what she felt
for Will was everything but fleeting. He had touched her heart, her soul.
Deanna thought of her
parents and remembered her mother saying how she and Ian had shared an
unbreakable bond; they had been ‘Imzadi.’ The first ones to touch each
other’s souls …
Last night Deanna had
cried out this very word to Will in her mind, it had been the only word to even
remotely describe how she felt. Now, she was just grateful that he would never
Will spoke, breaking
her train of thought.
smiled timidly. It wasn’t until he gently wiped away her tears with his thumbs
that she realized that she had been silently crying.
“Are you all
He looked at her,
praying that she hadn’t regretted what had happened between them.
“Hold me, Will.”
He did, trying to
soothe her, as her tears began to fall again. He was aware that she hadn’t
answered his question, and it made him uneasy. But the last thing he wanted to
do was pressure her.
“Of course,” he
whispered and kissed her lightly.
Deanna rested in his
arms, feeling safe in a way that she couldn’t explain. She realized that when
it came to Will she wasn’t able to explain much. When she was in his arms
reality seemed to subside, to simply vanish.
Will watched as sleep
overtook her and cuddled her in his arms before succumbing to sleep as well.
She wasn’t beside
him in bed the next morning.
Will sat up with a
start, looking around his quarters searchingly before breathing a sigh of
relief. Her clothes were still there, although she seemed to have gathered it
from the floor and folded it on the chair. He smiled, letting himself fall back
in the pillows, as he called out for her.
She emerged from the
bathroom, clothed in one of his robes, her hair still damp from the shower. She
looked positively angelic, like a vision. A broad grin spread across Will’s
face. He had envisioned this moment so many times in his dreams. But this
wasn’t a dream. It was real. She was real, and she was here with him.
She came towards him,
sitting down on the edge of the bed.
He reached up to tuck
a stray curl behind her ear. “I just realized that dreams actually do come
true.” He felt corny, terribly corny, but he couldn’t help himself.
“Good one, Will,”
she smiled. “You’re quite the flatterer!”
“I am,” he
nodded, matching her playful tone with his own. Then he continued. “Except,
this isn’t flattery.”
She had no comeback
for that one. She was too surprised by the seriousness she sensed from him.
She leaned in and
kissed his lips softly.
Will brought her
closer to him.
He put a hand behind her neck and brought her lips to his for a longer kiss. She
“We have to get
ready.” She withdrew from him after a lingering kiss that left both of them
“In a minute.” He
kissed her again, not ready to let her go just yet.
inwardly. He really was special.
“Will you tell me
why you cried last night?”
His eyes had suddenly
clouded over. She sensed his worry. But she didn’t know what to say to him.
But he insisted.
“Just tell me you
don’t regret what happened.”
She was taken back by
the vulnerability in his eyes and voice and reached out to him.
“Of course not!”
His relief flooded
her senses; it was almost tangible. She got up from the bed, reaching for her
clothes before disappearing back into the bathroom.
Deanna was about to
leave. She was getting late for her first appointment of the day.
Will enveloped her in
his arms for one last hug. It
wasn’t until she was halfway through the door that he found the courage to ask
her the question that had been on his mind most of the night and all morning.
“Deanna, what does
She turned, slowly,
to face him. Her face was pale. She looked disbelieving and seemed relieved when
Beverly’s voice was heard through her Communicator requesting her presence in
“I have to go,
Will. I’m late.”
“But …” he
But Deanna was
He knew. He knew.
But how could he? It wasn’t possible … was it?
Beverly threw her
friend a concerned look. She seemed shocked.
“Are you okay?”
Deanna fell down in a
chair in Crusher’s office.
She knew her
appearance was contradicting that statement, but she didn’t have the strength
to keep up a front, and knowing Beverly it wouldn’t do her much good, anyway.
Crusher would see through it in a minute.
“Of course you
are,” Beverly nodded and continued without missing a beat. “What’s going
maintained. “What did you want to see me about?”
masked her hurt at being dismissed. She and Deanna were friends. Troi would
share what was on her mind, eventually - when she was ready.
“I just spoke to
the Captain,” Beverly said. “He wanted to know if Will came to see you
“See me?” Deanna
was thrown off guard for a second, and then quickly regained her composure.
“Yes … I mean no. No. I’ll see him later today.”
Beverly was getting
nervous. When she had witnessed the conversation between Troi and Riker the
previous night, she had had a feeling that something was going on.
Now she was sure. But
what was it?
plea stopped Crusher from asking all the questions forming in her mind.
“Okay, but when
you’re ready …”
Deanna nodded and
rose from the chair. She smiled for the first time since the conversation had
“I know where to
find you. Thank you.”
friends are for,” Beverly answered and returned Troi’s smile before watching
her leave the office.
The senior officers
were assembled in the Conference Lounge for the daily briefing, and Picard had
just informed them that an away team would be formed within a few hours. Their
task would be to mediate a dispute between two battling races on the planet
Exron IV. There was a risk that it could all explode and result in a civil war.
Starfleet did not want it to come to that, and it was up to the Enterprise to
assure a peaceful outcome.
“That would be
all,” Picard ended his briefing, silently gesturing for Riker to stay behind
while the rest of the officers returned to their duties.
Deanna felt Will’s
eyes on her as she hurried out of the lounge. Not a word had been spoken between
them since she had left his cabin earlier that morning, and she felt his
turmoil; the doubt and hurt in his mind and heart. But she could do nothing to
appease him, not now when her own thoughts were so conflicted. Talking would
make it all worse, Deanna told herself, as she reached her office and let
herself slide into a chair.
“Riker to Troi.”
His voice startled
her, and Deanna felt her heart jump to her throat.
Her response was far
from professional, but it was the only one she could form and still keep her
voice from shaking.
“The Captain would
like an evaluation of my mental state.“
She picked up on the
slight strain in his voice, and the sarcasm didn’t escape her, either.
“Do you have a free
time slot?” he continued, waiting.
“I’m free right
now,” she replied and came face to face with him - as she had known she would
- when she rose and let the door slide open.
Will stepped inside,
resisting the pull to touch her. A few hours ago it would have been the easiest
and most natural thing in the Universe. Now it seemed she was far away, out of
He shook his head and
sat on the edge of the couch.
“No,” he said and
sucked in a deep breath. “Deanna, I didn’t come here for anything but
She nodded and took
her place behind the desk.
The tension in the
room was tangible.
He was right there,
on the other side of the table, close enough to touch - if she only reached out
sorry,” she heard herself whisper.
He grimaced, and her
Was this what it
would be like for them – an eternal dance of ‘two steps forward, one step
back’? Was there any “them” at all?
“I don’t want you
to apologize. I shouldn’t have … done what I did.”
“I’m not a child,
was apparent in her outburst.
“I know,” he
answered in a soft tone that made Deanna want to close her eyes just to enjoy
it. “I just meant that no matter how much I lo ---“
Will cleared his
throat and silently cursed himself for not keeping his feelings unknown to her.
It wasn’t fair - not when she wasn’t ready to deal with them, and she
It didn’t matter
that they had spent the night in each other’s arms, it didn’t matter that
what they had shared had felt like … magic to him.
All he could think of
was her tears - and that word. What did it mean? More importantly, why
wouldn’t she tell him?
“Please tell the
Captain what he wants to know. I’m fine.”
He was heading out
the door quickly.
He turned around,
“When …” she
paused for a moment, losing herself in the warmth of his eyes. “When will you
safe,” she whispered.
Will closed the
distance between them in a couple of long strides and held her close to him.
For a minute
everything else subsided just like it had the previous night, and they stood
there silently, each lost in their thoughts of the other.
“Data to Commander
The moment was over,
the spell was broken, and Will stepped back from Deanna.
“I’m on my way.
Will drew Deanna into
another tight embrace, and she followed him willingly.
something, Will,” she asked.
answered, looking into her eyes and forgot all the unanswered questions between
them. If he didn’t return, he wanted to remember her like this, in his arms,
and if he did, there would be enough time to talk.
“Come back to
He smiled and kissed
Deanna deepened the
kiss, not wanting to let him go just yet.
Will couldn’t hide
his surprise at her heated reaction.
“I’ll do my best,
Ms. Troi,” he whispered against her lips, feeling giddy - she made him feel
almost adolescent. “I’ll do my very best.”
Deanna watched him
leave her office, wowing that when he returned to the Enterprise, to her, she
would tell him.
She would tell him
that she loved him, and she would let him know the meaning of ‘Imzadi.’
Deanna rushed to
She was frantic and
didn’t pay attention to the officers who jumped aside to avoid being knocked
over as she passed by.
“Where is he?”
Beverly got up
quickly behind her desk, hurrying to comfort her friend.
“Where is he,
Beverly? How is he?”
hard. This might be the hardest thing she would ever have to say to anyone.
listen to me,” she started, feeling sick at the sight of Troi’s panic and
The mission had been
a success, or so everyone had thought up until a couple of weeks ago, when the
away team had returned – without the First Officer.
Riker had been
captured and was held on charges that remained unspecified. In a bold move
Picard had sent down a team to recover his first in command from the prison,
where he was held. The team had succeeded, but Riker had been fatally wounded
during the escape and had slipped into a coma before it was possible to get him
It had been three
days now, and he had not yet regained consciousness.
had been requested by Starfleet at a psychology conference, and much to
Picard’s dismay he had been forced to let her go.
Therefore, she had
just now been informed of Will’s condition.
Beverly had feared
this moment, prayed that by some miracle Will would have woken up by the time
Deanna was back onboard.
Her prayers had been
left unanswered, and, now here she was, forced to let one of her best friends
know that she had done all she could to save the life of the man she loved.
Deanna had never told
her how she felt about Will, but Beverly was sure, nevertheless. If there had
been any doubt in her mind, Deanna’s distraught expression put them all to
“Beverly, just let
me see him, I want to see him.”
leading the Counselor to the biobed where Riker lay as if he was soundly
As Deanna moved
closer and reached out to touch Will’s face, Beverly backed away. She wanted
to let Deanna have some time alone to come to terms with the situation.
whispered, leaning in to kiss his lips. “Can you hear me? Please, Will, hear
Deanna grew more
desperate by the minute as there continued to be no reaction from the man lying
in front of her. She couldn’t reach him, she admitted, not like this.
But if he really was
her Imzadi, if it really was true, there might still be a chance, albeit a very
small one. She had to try.
She had to try
everything she possible could.
She needed him.
“Are you sure,
voice filled Deanna’s cabin, and Deanna watched her mother’s face on the
“Yes, Mother, I
am,” she answered. “And he needs me. I’m the only who can help him now,
but you have to help me. Tell me how to reach him.”
Elder Troi objected, but Deanna cut her off before she could continue.
“Mother, please. I
love him. Help me.”
Light-years away on
Deanna’s home planet of Betazed her mother listened to her daughter’s plea.
Her Little One had
gone against Betazoid customs in more than one way. She had followed her heart
and her dreams and formed a career for herself in Starfleet. She had objected to
enter into the traditional pre-arranged marriage, and now … now she claimed to
be in love – and with a human, no less. She maintained that he was her Imzadi.
This was exactly what
Lwaxana had hoped would never happen, and she wanted nothing more than to
convince Deanna to forget about this William Riker, to come back home and take
her place in history as the heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.
But she also knew
that she would not succeed, Deanna had become a very independent woman and very
stubborn as well.
In fact, Lwaxana knew
that her daughter would never have sought out her advice on a matter such as
this, if she hadn’t tried everything else in vain.
~ Mother, I need
words floated into Lwaxana’s mind across the vast distance, thereby breaking
her train of thought, and Lwaxana felt the pain her daughter went through.
It was a pain very
similar to one she herself had experienced years ago when losing her beloved
Ian, the pain of loss and of words never spoken.
She could not let
Deanna go through that kind of agony, not if there was anything she could do to
help it. This was not about her, Lwaxana reluctantly admitted to herself.
It was about Deanna
and her William Riker; it was about Imzadi.
~ I will help you,
Little One. ~
Deanna let out her
breath in a silent sigh of relief.
“Thank you,” she
answered and waited, hoping that whatever her mother could tell her would help
bring Will back.
In the course of the
next couple of days Deanna spent every free moment she had by Will’s side,
trying to reach out to him with her mind, just as her mother had advised her to.
The bond that had
been forged between the two of them, through the intimacy they had shared, meant
that she and Will shared something unique, a very special and deep connection.
They had touched each
other’s hearts and souls that night – they had found a love stronger than
anything else, and now that love was the only thing that could save Will.
Deanna leaned back in
the chair with her eyes closed and her mind cleared of every thought that
wasn’t of Riker. She remembered their friendship, their confidence, and most
of all she remembered the way he had made her feel, the way he had held her,
It had never been
like that with any other man, and she knew that even if she would have to let
him go, she would treasure the memories forever.
~ I love you ~
She formed the words
mentally, hoping that Will would hear them and respond. She wanted so
desperately to believe that he could hear her.
One. Two. Three …
Long moments of
silence, deafening silence, where Deanna sensed nothing but emptiness – inside
and out. Will was trapped, and she could not get to him, she could not help him.
And then, suddenly,
she sensed him again. It was faint, very faint, but Deanna focused all her
energy on holding on to it.
~ Will? ~
She tried again;
reaching out to him through the link that she had to believe was really there.
~ Help me. ~
At first she didn’t
believe it, couldn’t believe that she had actually heard his quiet voice in
her mind. It was so weak that Deanna thought she had only imagined it.
But then she heard it
again, from somewhere far away. Faded, but real nonetheless.
~ Deanna? Help me!
She jumped slightly
in her seat; the sensation of him in her mind was both frightening and
exhilarating at the same time.
Deanna drew in a slow
breath to keep herself calm.
~ I will, Imzadi,
I will. ~
Relief, gratitude and
love washed over her all at once as she felt hope for the first time in what
seemed an eternity.
later Deanna walked into Sickbay as she had done everyday since she had learned
of Will critical state. She had stayed by his side and with her help he had
gradually fought his way out of the coma. He was still weak and under the
constant supervision of Beverly and her staff – not to mention the Captain who
was kept up to date on any change in Riker’s condition.
He smiled slightly
and winced as he turned his head to look at her. She rushed to his side,
surprised to see that he was reading.
supposed to be resting,” she whispered before she was robbed of the ability to
speak and could do nothing but respond to his kiss that grew more passionate by
“I am,” he
assured her, his breath hot against her lips.
Deanna closed her
eyes and let the sensation of his touch crash over her in a wave of emotion. His
hand in her hair, his lips caressing her cheeks and eyelids lightly before
recapturing her mouth in a sensual kiss that sent Deanna’s senses soaring.
“What a welcome!”
She withdrew from him
a little and smiled.
So did Will, and he
had every reason to.
He had been inches
away from dying, and now he was on the road to full recovery.
It would take time,
but he would get there.
Will looked at the
woman in front of him and knew that she was the reason he was still here.
She had saved his
“It’s the least I
can do,” he said, pausing for a brief moment to make sure that she looked at
him, as he continued. “For my Imzadi.”
“I promised myself
that when you came back I would let you know what it means,” Deanna explained
and was surprised to see Will shake his head.
“I know what it
means, Deanna,” he let her know, gesturing to the PADD in his lap.
She looked at it,
then up at Will and back again.
She hadn’t expected
He was reading about
Betazoid customs and the history of her home planet.
“I was shocked, and
He reached for her
hand and cut her off in the soft tone of voice that she already loved so much.
swallowing hard upon hearing him utter the word in her native tongue.
It was more than a
word; it was reassurance that she didn’t need to explain anything.
“I made another wow
to myself after you left my office,” she told him.
He smiled and waited
for her to go on.
“I wowed that I
would tell you that I love you.”
Deanna locked eyes
“I love you … I
was so afraid that you would never know.”
She felt the tears
burn behind her eyelids threatening to run down her cheeks any moment.
“I love you,
too,” he answered, leaning forward to bring her back into his arms. “I’m
here now, and I will be fine. We will be fine.”
Deanna melted into
him as she had done before as Will kissed her tenderly.
Her thoughts of the
complications that their relationship might cause, the hint of doubt in the back
of her mind that it would be wise to get involved with a fellow officer while
they served on the same ship … it all disappeared in an instant as she felt
his kiss and the love that flowed from his heart to hers.
smiled as he saw the trust in Deanna’s eyes, it reassured him.
What they shared was
unlike anything he had ever shared with anyone else, and he knew he would never
feel about any other woman the way he felt about her.
They were Imzadi, and
the bond surpassed any logic.
It was love.
And love – true
love – is beyond reason.